Studio Joanna Laajisto designed a new home for the advertising agency, Bob the Robot, in the former Elanto bread factory in Sörnäinen, Helsinki. The result, House of Bobs, is not a conventional office space.
ADVERTISING AGENCY BOB THE ROBOT moved into the almost hundred-year-old Elanto bread factory in Sörnäinen, Helsinki in the fall of 2018. In the hands of Studio Joanna Laajisto, the six-meter-high industrial hall became House of Bobs, a kind of private club enjoyed by the agency's staff and clients.
The 1,500-square-meter space is divided into private and common areas, including various facilities for independent work, teamwork and meeting customers. The shared facilities include the office's lobby, café, and meeting rooms by the side of a long corridor.
“In today’s creative office, employees like to change the place and way they work multiple times a day, so it is important to accommodate this into the office design”, says interior architect Joanna Laajisto, lead designer of the project.
Employees of Bob the Robot can choose whether to work in the spacious café area, in the armchairs of the lounge area on the second floor, or around electric adjustable desks in the more private facilities.
The interior design was inspired by Bob the Robot's idea of a members-only club, which is evident in the materials and details in the facilities. The many marble elements, impressive customized lighting, and tall glass panels are more characteristic of hotels and restaurants than offices.
House of Bobs features 'hi-lo' design: lower-end materials have been chosen alongside luxurious details.
So-called 'hi-lo' design has been applied to House of Bobs: lower-end materials have been chosen alongside luxurious details. For example, the café tables, the reception desk and the coffee table in the lounge were made from a grade of Carrara marble that is usually discarded. This also had overall cost benefits for the project.
“Budget is always an issue when designing anything, but our design philosophy is that even a tighter budget should not effect the quality and longevity of the project. You just need more creative solutions.”
“Furniture should also be considered as an investment for the future in businesses.”
The studio did not want to compromise over furniture. Because some of the pieces, such as the 'Chair 69' chairs designed by Alvar Aalto, were acquired second-hand, new sources of pride could be bought to follow the agency wherever it goes, delighting staff and customers for years to come.
“Businesses grow fast and often move in 5-year increments. This doesn’t mean that everything should be changed each time. I really want to promote the idea that furniture should be considered as an investment for the future in a business just like people are starting to do more and more in their private life”, Laajisto concludes.
• Products designed by Joanna Laajisto >
• Northern Comfort: The Nordic Art of Creative Living, a book by Gestalten featuring Joanna Laajisto >
Edited: Laura Hallikainen Photos: Mikko Ryhänen